A confidential note on the issue of asylum applications by Sudanese, addressed by the Office of the General Commissioner for Refugees and Stateless Persons, CGRA, to the Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Theo Francken, has been circulating for days, Le Soir daily reported on Tuesday. In the note, dated 24 October, the CGRA indicated broad categories of people who could be considered to be in danger if they returned to their country.
According to the document, anyone from a non-Arab ethnic group from Darfur or from Blue Nile or South Kordofan, two regions that border on South Sudan, automatically qualifies for refugee status given the dangerous nature and type of conflict in their areas. People of Arab origin from these regions receive subsidiary protection.
The document further notes that, at the national level, the Commission had thus far automatically granted subsidiary protection to anyone from a non-Arab ethnic group, but the files concerned had been frozen pending a new assessment of the situation on the ground to determine whether to maintain or lift automatic protection.
News of the note comes as Belgium’s human rights advocates are fighting to prevent the deportation of Sudanese rounded up in police raids. According to reports, some repatriated Sudanese have been tortured on their return to Sudan.
The CGRA note was specifically addressed to Francken; it shows that the CGRA, which is the Belgian institution with the best grasp of the matter, had established broad criteria of at-risk populations among the Sudanese, but this was evidently ignored by the administration that carried out the repatriations, Le Soir reported.